My coworkers frequently joke about either being fired or who's going to quit next at work. They often bring up stories about predecessors who quit or got fired and why. It unfortunately seems to be one of their main conversation topics at lunch.

Our sales team has a high turnover rate. We've had 4 people quit in the last 2 months...and we're a team of about 18 people. My coworker recently succeeded with her 12 month confirmation in her sales role, but still likes to say "so now that ___ has just quit, who's next?" and proceeds to jokingly ask each person around her if they will quit next.

For context, these coworkers gossip a lot about others in the team. They'll talk about other sales reps' performance, current percentage to targets (mostly their gaps), and in my view, it doesn't seem that these coworkers want the other reps that they talk about to succeed.

To be honest, I really feel uncomfortable when they joke about being fired and who's going to quit so often. I like my job and want it to be stable, I don't want to constantly be reminded of the possibility of quitting or being fired.

How do I get them to stop joking about this so frequently? It doesn't create a very nice work environment.

  • 1
    Related question, that happened to me a while ago that could help or at least provide some ideas for your situation: Dealing with “tolerable” jokes on critical moments
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 18:49
  • 2
    Have you expressed to them that you are uncomfortable with the getting fired and quitting jokes?
    – sf02
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 19:27
  • 2
    Is this your first sales position? How long have you been with the group? Are you relatively junior, or do you have actual influence?
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 20:53
  • 1
    From what I have seen, this is normal for sales people. Where are you from? Things like this tend to be culturally dependent.
    – Cypher
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 0:19
  • 3
    "Our sales team has a high turnover rate" - ALLL sales teams have a high turnover rate
    – Mawg
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


This is pretty typical of sales jobs, particularly in industries where high pressure sales tactics are encouraged. There's always a high turnover rate and the subject is on the forefront of everyone's mind, probably due to the fear that they could be next. Even in non-sales jobs, when someone gets fired or suddenly quits, it raises a lot of curiosity and people tend to talk about it. A lot. Sometimes management makes an active effort to discourage this sort of banter but in my experience, it never has much of an effect. If it makes you uncomfortable, my suggestion would be to get out of sales or at least move to an industry where the turnover rate isn't so high.

  • 1
    Not to mention that such jokes help tame the feeling and fear of being fired so when the time come the thought if it isn't as scary. Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 6:57

IMHO, Leave as soon as you can.

A toxic, gossipy workplace is NOT a healthy one.

Gossiping behavior of your colleagues is one of mental defense mechanisms, that allow them to cope with this workplace.

  • I can not edit:( do you mean "change"?
    – guest
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 21:04
  • @guest Lol, Sorry, typo :)
    – Strader
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 21:08
  • Haha, sorry, I meant "leave", not "change";)
    – guest
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 21:13
  • @guest lol, someone silently doesn't agree with my diagnosis
    – Strader
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 14:20

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